Saturday, October 29, 2005
Political Correctness Alert: Add 'Freshmen' to the List of Banned Words
Amherst high banishes the term 'freshman'
No more 'freshman'
By Rachel Hanley
Daily Hampshire Gazette
October 22. 2005 8:00AM
AMHERST - Amherst Regional High School has banished the term "freshman"- a move the principal calls overdue, but some students say oozes political correctness.
Beginning this year, students in ninth grade are now referred to by the gender-neutral title "ninth-graders."
"This is 2005 and the word 'man'or 'men' no longer refers to all people," said Samantha Camera, a social studies teacher at the high school. She said the change was an opportunity to use more inclusive language.
The school is changing everything from its official documents to its morning announcements to reflect the new term.
Area colleges have already grappled with "freshman." Smith and Mount Holyoke colleges, which accept only women, dropped the term in the early 1980s in favor of "first-year students." Amherst College did the same around 1998. The University of Massachusetts continues to use "first year" and "freshman" interchangeably on documents referring to students of both genders.
But in Amherst, some believe language is a measure of how people are viewed and treated.
ARHS Assistant Principal Marta Guevara, who spearheaded the change, said the decision to move away from 'freshman' was a result of conversations among faculty that began after the controversial production of The Vagina Monologues two years ago.
"We want conversation, we want for kids to bring forward their thinking," said Guevara. "It's a great conversation to make them aware of the possible misogynistic, oppressive or non-inclusive language."
Guevara said such conversations could eventually mean doing away with all class terms, such as "junior,""senior," and "upperclassmen." These changes are not under discussion at this point.
Samantha has "man" in her name, therefore what?
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